Hints to extend the life of your garden hose

July 28, 2015

Whether it's to wash your car, fill the bird fountain or water the garden, chances are you've used your garden hose more than a few times this season. So how can you ensure that your hose will perform flawlessly in the years to come? Here are some hints to help prolong its life.

Hints to extend the life of your garden hose

[Photo Credit: iStock.com/skhoward]

Keep the hose clean

Removing dirt from the garden hose is simple enough, but it's also an opportunity to check for leaks, cracks or damage.

To begin, always start cleaning garden hoses with the least abrasive method and work your way up.

  • For a mild cleaning, other than removing chunks of dirt, simply spray water from the hose onto the hose.
  • If you need extra cleaning muscle, dampen a rag in warm water and add to it some biodegradable soap. Rub it over the hose and use clean water from the hose to rinse.
  • If there's still dirt stuck on the hose use a vinyl cleaner, following the manufacturer's instructions. This type of cleaner is suitable for vinyl hoses or vinyl-covered rubber hoses.

Remove calcium build-up

If your hose has stopped running or flows at only a trickle,  you may have built-up calcium deposits obstructing the flow.  Provided there are no visible kinks in the hose, this is a distinct possibility if you happen to live in a "hard-water" area. To help remedy the situation:

  • Bend the hose back and forth along the entire length of the hose to break up the build-up.
  • If there's a nozzle on the end of the hose, remove it and then turn on the water to flush out the loosened deposits.

Prolonging the life of your hose

Even though hoses have UV retardants in their materials, you should always remove your hose from adverse conditions, such as prolonged exposure to sunlight and freezing temperatures.

  • Over time, sunlight can break down the material so that it becomes brittle and the hose will become less flexible.

Store when not in use
While your garden hose isn't in use, store it on a reel to prevent it from forming kinks or knots.

  • Place the reel out of sight (they're not that attractive, anyway) and out of the sun or on the east side of the house (so it only gets the morning sun).

Drain your garden hose for winter
If you live in a very cold area, drain the hose and store it indoors for winter. To drain it:

  • First detach the hose from the tap.
  • Then, starting at the end of the hose, pick it up so that the water runs through the hose ahead of you. Make large loops with the hose over your shoulder as you go.
  • When you reach the end of the hose, all the water will have run out.
  • If you have a long hose that's too heavy to loop over your shoulder, make loops around a bench or make your loops on a raised patch of ground.

Before winter hits, you'll also want to turn off the water to the outside faucet from inside the house.

  • Leave the outside tap open to prevent frozen pipes. Otherwise the remaining water will, as it freezes, expand and potentially burst or crack the metal valves, joints or pipes due to excess pressure.

Storing your garden hose indoors
A wet hose indoors may become smelly and mildewy if it isn't properly dried. To store your garden hose in the house:

  • First, place the hose out in the sun for up to two days to thoroughly dry it out.
  • Then, store the hose flat in large relaxed loops. As long as the water is completely drained, you needn't place the hose in any special container.
  • If you hang your hose outside, you'll get bends that may freeze and damage the material.

Although they may seem tough and durable, you should never walk on or drive over a hose.

  • Hoses aren't designed to withstand that much external pressure.

Fortunately, most garden hoses are practically maintenance-free. However, that doesn't mean they thrive on neglect. Given that a quality garden hose can be pricey, a few minutes of simple maintenance is all it takes to ensure your hose lasts for years.

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